Analysis

GAO: Online Voter Registration, ERIC Participation Reduce State Elections Costs

A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, based on original interviews with state officials and external studies, discusses the impact of state policies on the cost and efficiency of election administration, and examines how local governments and stakeholders are working to improve elections.  Key findings of the report include:

  • Participating in the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) results in “more accurate voter registration lists” as well as “cost savings for state and local election offices.”
  • The upfront investment required for an online voter registration system is minimal and quickly generates savings after implementation.

ERIC is a multistate partnership that uses a sophisticated and secure data-matching tool to improve the accuracy and efficiency of voter registration systems. More up-to-date voter rolls mean fewer mailings and decreased staff time, which saves states money. Nineteen states plus the District of Columbia are members of ERIC.

Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia allow eligible citizens to register to vote online. Electronic registration avoids many of the issues common to paper registration, including data entry errors and missing information. Online registration also saves states money by reducing or eliminating the need for paper, printing, postage, and staff time.

David Becker directs Pew’s election initiatives, and Keara Castaldo supports the project’s voter registration portfolio.

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